You're screaming through dense, sun-drenched Vietnam forest, army jeeps hot on your trail. There are two paths up ahead - one's a massive hill that looks impossible to climb, the other's a valley that's loaded with border patrol cronies. In a split-second decision, you go for the hill, your truck's engine roars in contempt but drags over the top anyway, launching you off a cliff and safely to your contraband drop zone. Mission accomplished.
Smuggler's Run: Warzones is boiling over with moments like that. You're a rookie smuggler who wants to make a big name for himself, and what better way than taking on the most insane, outlandish missions available? One minute you're flying a sports car across a desert looking for air-dropped packages, then five seconds later the FBI, US Army and border patrol officers rain down on you with a vengeance.
Warzones is a director's cut of the first two PS2 Smuggler's Run titles. It combines the enormous, dwarfing levels of the series with new countermeasures and getaway techniques. Part of the instant appeal of the Smuggler games is their wide-open gameplay - after one quick load at the beginning of each stage, you've got a miles-long stretch of landscape to tear through. It's all about winding through the small villages, bountiful hills and marshy swamps to get your stolen goods delivered on time.
But once the intensity wears off, you'll notice how on your ass the law is. These guys do not mess around. They'll bash into you head on, swerve around your carefully placed mines and tip your little jeep off into a ravine without breaking a sweat. Of course, that makes it all the more satisfying when you take a heavy-duty, tank-treaded truck out for a spin and plow through everything.
Aside from the main game, there's also a capture-the-flag type of adventure where you and rival smugglers are gunning for the same goods. All you gotta do is drive over them and get them back to your base. Think of it like a game of football, only everyone's in a decked-out hell car. This mode can be played solo or with up to three other people.
The only real problem with Warzones is one inherent to the series as a whole - you're always driving, and that's it. You never take to the skies or hop in a boat or mix-up the missions at all. Yes, it's a heart-pounding car chase, but some variety would have helped. You can unlock a few extra goodies (hovercraft bike!) but still, not much to do other than slam down on the gas. But you know what? Sometimes that's all you need.